Venue: Flemish Waterways

Address: Koning Albert II-laan 20 bus 14, 1000 Brussels


  • Canal & River Trust – Danny Brennan, Chair
  • Canal & River Trust – Chris Barnett Hosting partner, Flemisch Waterways, Judith Wouters Waterways Ireland, Caroline McCarroll
  • Provence of Antwerp – Sabine Denissen
  • Telemark County Counsil – Dawn Syvertsen
  • Voies Navigables de France – Frédéric MILLET
  • City of Ghent – Rudy van der Ween
  • Rijkswaterstaat – Paul van der Maat
  • Waterways Netherlands – Manon van Meer
  • Heinaut – François Xavier Allard


Steve Higham (CRT), Katarina Nordmark (Värmland County Administrative Board), Brenda Turnbull (Lagan Navigation Trust) who has now become a sustaining member.

09:30 Arrival and coffee

10:00 Welcome and Opening by chair Danny Brennan

Introductions of all.

10:10 Minutes of the meeting in Bremerhaven, held on 26th of June 2018

The minutes (appendix 1) have been approved in the meeting by the members.


The project proposal, ‘Renaissance of Secondary Waterways’ was cancelled. It was explained that a UK partner could not be used as a lead partner, then the province of Antwerp signed up for this important task, but now the INTERREG Europe programme has stopped and there is no clear focus on what to do next.

However it was decided by the partners that the subject is still relevant to the NIWE network and its objectives and we should try to find a way of applying its principles to the best transnational opportunity we can identify. We will send it around again and review the position as opportunities arise.

Appendix 2; Renaissance of Secondary Waterways

10:20 Wellbeing presentation by Danny.

The presentation is attached. Appendix 3: Happiness & Wellbeing of Canal and River Trust

The Canal & River Trust has re-positioned itself significantly in the past year and restructured its organisation to deliver on the new mission, particularly in terms of regional and local capacity and focus. The new message from the Trust is: We are now a Waterways AND Wellbeing Trust; not only do we believe that waterways and their surroundings transform places and enrich lives – we are starting to be able to prove it, to prove that waterways contribute significantly to personal, community and national wellbeing.

The Trust has been working hard to develop a methodology for defining and measuring wellbeing and demonstrating the contribution the Canal & River Trust and its waterways can make to helping national, regional and local government meet their core economic, social, environmental and wellbeing objectives.

Not only that, but the Trust believes this methodology is highly transferable and there are opportunities for NIWE and its members to develop transnational activity that can take this work further and benefit local communities in each of our regions. The report ‘Waterways and Wellbeing’ (Chris will send hard copies to all NIWE members) gives an overview of the methodology and the outcomes that this work can bring and how this can be evidenced. The report gives practical examples which show that the methodology and measurement tools are well under way, with more detailed results coming through, with another couple of years of work obviously needed to demonstrate outcomes over time.

What is wellbeing?

  1. Health, wellbeing & happiness
  2. Engaged People and cohesive communities
  3. Learning and enhancing skills
  4. Prosperous and connected places
  5. Green and blue futures
  6. Cultural and environmental assets

Why are we measuring wellbeing?

  1. We need evidence to demonstrate that waterways and the Trust transform places and enrich lives
  2. We need to improve insight and the Trust performance based on that insight
  3. We need to build the Story; a consistent, credible and well evidenced narrative

What is measured (cross-cutting wellbeing)?

  1. Social wellbeing (progress)
  2. Economic well being (prosperity)
  3. Environmental wellbeing (resilience)
  4. Cultural wellbeing (belonging)

Why Wellbeing?

  1. We (CRT) need a framework within which to tell the story of the value of the waterways to people, communities, and the nation(s) (being England & Wales)
  2. We need to prove it (rather than just tell it!) to potential partners, funders, supporters
  3. We need to do this in a context where finances are tight, benefit must be proven
  4. Why today – NIWE engagement, possible new EU opportunities?

It was noted that the renaissance of secondary waterways project was very much in line with the wellbeing principles and should be re-visited as the work develops.

10:40 Presentation Flemish Waterways by Judith

Appendix 4: Economic meaning of the Flemish water leisure sector

A study was done to prove economic importance of the Flemish water leisure sector. It was a desk study with all available data.

The main goal is the calculation of the economic impact of the Flemish water leisure sector (FWLS).

  1. Define the scope of the FWLS
  2. Define the economic impact
  3. Defining a set of indicators?

Scope: Who is using the waterways?

  1. Non- motorised water recreation; canoeing, kayaking, rowing and SUP
  2. Motorised water recreation; pleasure boating, passenger transport: city and day cruises
  3. towing path recreation; walking and cycling
  4. Bank recreation; fishing
  5. Marine pleasure ports; only water recreation on the water

Economic impact:

  1. Revenue
  2. Employment and
  3. Added value

The total economic impact in 2016 was:

Revenue: 744.156.725 Euro Added value: 320.212.894 Euro Employment: 6.314 FTE

The total touristic sector in Flanders creates,

according to a recent study by the Flemish government (2016), a total added value of 9,9 billion Euro.

According to this study the share of the Flemish water leisure sector on the navigable waterways in Flanders in the total added value in the touristic sector is about 3%.

Results: Cycling (34%), walking (25%) and pleasure boating (21%) have the biggest economic impact in the water leisure sector in Flanders. Followed by: marine pleasure ports (9%), canoe-kayak-rowing-SUP (5%), passenger transport (city day cruises) (3%) and angling (3%).

However, not all data was available, there is a need for more transparency in the future, especially to understand the impact of commercial activity better.

11:00 Presentation RWS – Riverguide by Paul

Appendix 5; riverguide is attached.

As an introduction of our new member:

Rijkswaterstaat – RWS is a waterway manager and a part of the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management. RWS is responsible for the design, construction, management and maintenance of the main infrastructure facilities in the Netherlands.

RiverGuide is a free application developed by governmental parties in the form of a route planner including real time traffic information, fairway characteristics, berth occupation, freshwater, harbour & recreational information and much else.

The purpose of the app is to be an aid on navigation for a smooth and safe journey. What was done to accomplish this?

  1. User investigations on marine traffic, recreational and shipping/transportations by RWS and stakeholders resulted in a plan of action
  2. Functional development of wishes, by branch and market, in an application for mobile use
  3. Project “National Nautical Data Team”: improving quality and quantity of nautical data together with

partner organizations and governments

  1. “The Magnifier project”: what data is available (and in what form) that could be of use to fairway

Can we combine data and make value added services to serve your wishes?

It contains: Route planning, Notice to skippers/boaters, Hydro, meteo and more, Fairway and harbour details, Available berths and Feedback options.

We now have 5500 active users (boaters) and we are currently off season. The feedback is being used in scrum actions; immediate development and delivery of functional wishes. The data from the system is used to improve traffic management. It improves safety, makes the water more accessible and therefore increases ‘happiness’.

The challenge is all waterway owners need to provide all information needed and keep it up to date. It is still being improved, we strive to have it soon in several languages and we are willing to share the information we have with all other organisations.

11:20 EU Audit and Next Steps / Statement of intent / Review and Purpose by Danny

Appendix 6: Paper: The Future of the Network of Inland Waterways Europe Purpose:

The purpose is to discuss possible next steps in the development of NIWE, in order to:

  1. continue to build transnational project success;
  2. increase the value of the network to members and, through this, increase the membership; and
  3. develop EU and national policymakers’ awareness of inland waterways’ economic and community benefit and

NIWE has been successful in exchanging information on best practice, grant programmes, policy developments, and perhaps most importantly, developing, submitting and delivering transnational projects within EU Funding Programmes, primarily via the Interreg Programmes, which have led to grant funding being secured for the partners and transnational, transferable lessons for the programmes.

A key aspiration for NIWE is to become an ‘influencer’ within the EU Institutions, helping to shape policy and funding programmes by demonstrating the economic, social, environmental and community benefits of the EU’s inland waterways.

The purpose of the Network of Inland Waterways Europe (NIWE) is to stimulate the multifunctional use and sustainable development of inland waterways across Europe by bringing together the efforts of the existing key actors from across EU Members States and beyond. The 15 Tasks of NIWE as presently constituted will be streamlined and reduced by Danny to a number of 5/6 strategic objectives within 2/3 weeks.

He will send the result around as a draft proposal for comment and development as part of the process of re- focussing the NIWE purpose and the role of the re-designed website in supporting this work. We need also to widen our relationships with the European programmes. Paul will help with that.

Look at possible next steps:

  1. Continue to develop strong, innovative transnational
  2. Make the network more accessible to and more attractive for others, to increase membership and breadth of
  3. Develop ways of identifying and promoting more effectively transferable lessons, across the membership and more widely to influence EU and national policy and
  4. In practical terms, we need better communication tools, not least website

The website is not presently sufficiently interactive; it needs to be redesigned/refreshed. CRT will take the responsibility for redesigning the website. It will continue to include all the project work NIWE has done, but will become easier to access, more attractive and accessible and better able to help meet NIWE objectives,

including through incorporating social media, showcasing NIWE members’ activities and interests, helping match partners and experts for transnational project development and linking to related agencies and institutions (EU, such as INE – others?).

It was noted in discussion that the European Commission programmes will be less prescriptive in the future for European projects. This will increase the opportunities for NIWE to develop more expansive transnational projects (the discussion earlier about evidencing benefit is important here also). New programmes from the EU are also expected to focus more on both globalisation and digitisation. We need to understand these concepts better as a network in order to engage and contribute.

It was agreed that, as part of next steps in developing NIWE, the next meeting would include a half day workshop to advance our thinking, decide on actions and look at the role of NIWE members in taking the network forward.

The workshop will include review and development of the initial audit on EU engagement (members have a lot of relationships with relevant European agencies and activities – we need to use this better), identify opportunities and gaps and plan further EU engagement on the basis of the outcome of the discussion.

It will also have a first look at the re-designed website and discuss how this can be used as an important tool to meeting our objectives on influence, marketing, communication, project partner identification and knowledge transfer (and other things), alongside the potential role of social media in helping meet our objectives.

Finally, on NIWE development, Danny and Manon had a meeting with Karin de Schepper of Inland Navigation Europe (INE). They are keen to work with us, wish to share information with us and are happy to share contacts and potentially meetings where we have a mutual interest. The relationship – and even joining INE with NIWE – has been discussed in the past. Following from this meeting with Karin, we are going to start linking up in a fairly structured way to common benefit in the future. It was an open and good conversation; we will see where it will go.

12:30 Lunch and Boat trip

13:30 GreenShips – province of Antwerp by Sabine

Green Ships is a transformed version of the Blue Hubs which was submitted in the North Sea Region programme. The project proposal is attached as appendix 7.

To make passenger water transport more sustainable, important steps need to be taken in the Interreg 2 Seas Region to transform the propulsion of the operational fleet to diminish GHG by the implementation of low carbon technology.

The Project GreenShips has chosen the technology of retro fitting: the transformation of diesel engines by hybrid engine in operational ships.

The project GreenShips wants to:

  1. Implement the technology of retro fitting to transform older models of passenger ships running on diesel engine into hybrid vessels;
  2. start from research on technology of retrofitting & learning from the implementation of the technology in standalone demonstration models, to upscale the technology to a broader implementation level in the 2 Seas Region through exchange of knowledge and transnational cooperation and
  3. develop a feasible investment model & a competitive exploitation model for water transport providers in the 2 Seas Region to stimulate a further role out of the

We have chosen the 2 seas programme now instead of the NSR because it fits very well and it is easier to apply. It needs to be a study of several alternatives and not just one. We only have passenger boats/ sustainable shipping but this is too narrow and no lead partners.

Flemish waterways would be the lead partner for this project. But it has no internal approval and may be rejected. Telemark: it needs to be more innovative and we are really interested but it needs to be NSR then. VNF: will ask if they can become LP. VNF will arrange a meeting with the Flemish to move forward.

We need to decide on the programme also based on the lead partner. Horizon 2020 (research and innovation) would be suitable because we could all participate.

14:00 EU Events (all)

Antifouling: Appendix 8 powerpoint presentation biocide free antifouling systems & thought starter.

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has asked the Ministry of Infrastructure and Watermanagement of the Netherlands to organise a workshop about the substitution of damaging substances in a specific sector related to innovative materials and products. The ministry has chosen for Biocide free Antifoulings and held an exposition on the Innovation Expo 2018 on the 4th of October and organised an international innovation dialogue on this subject the next day.

In the Netherlands regulations regarding biocides in antifouling paints have been adjusted. Less concentrations of biocides (mostly copper) are now permitted. (Roughly can be stated the amount of copper has been decreased from 42 to 12%.)

The main subject was how and with which conditions stakeholders (e.g. producers, users, knowledge institutes, boat builders and maintenance companies) are willing to participate in this process by working together with the entire sector to establish this innovation.

The outcome was that the ministry has chosen for a biocide free environment for the near future. However to persuade the boaters and proof the alternatives are effective a test will be done in the next season (2019) in which all biocide free alternatives will be compared.

14:30 Partner update (all)

  1. VNF: Request from Ségolène. The colleagues from regional Directorate in Lyon ask us about a call of projects for French lockkeeper houses near Saone It’s an important project (develop a business for more 10 lock houses). VNF is looking for contacts in Europe which could be interested by this kind of projects in France. Paul will make inquiries, Manon will connect Paul to Ségolène.
  2. CRT; the project Greenwins has started. It is about Greener pumping solutions and a greener waterways network. You can view this link for more information search/green-win-greener-waterway-infrastructure/ The partners of NIWE are needed to take up the technologies. All are
  3. Waterways Ireland; First the strategy was more focussed on recreational routes but now it is more about recreation integration in the network so it has much expanded.
  4. Telemark: We’re interested tourism & developments on the land, maintenance & operation of the

15:00 Closure

Date and place next meeting

22 January in Dusseldorf


  1. Approved Minutes meeting Bremerhaven
  2. Project proposal: Renaissance of Secondary Waterways
  3. PPP: Happiness & Wellbeing, Canal and River Trust
  4. PPP; Economic meaning of the Flemish water leisure sector
  5. PPP: Riverguide
  6. The Future of the Network of Inland Waterways Europe
  7. Project proposal: Green ships
  8. PPP: Biocide Free Antifouling systems

Action list

1 Renaissance of Secondary Waterways

Review the position as opportunities arise.

It was noted that the renaissance of secondary waterways project was very much in line with the wellbeing principles and should be re-visited as the work develops.

2 Riverguide

It is still being improved, we strive to have it soon in several languages and RWS is willing to share the information we have with all other organisations

3 Audit and Next Steps

The 15 Tasks of NIWE as presently constituted will be streamlined and reduced by Danny to a number of 5/6 strategic objectives within 2/3 weeks

We need also to widen our relationships with the European programmes/contacts. Danny will send the result around as a draft proposal for NIWE members’ comment

Workshop objectives, approach to be developed, shared ahead of January meeting

Danny & Paul ALL


4 Website

CRT will take the responsibility for redesigning the website.

5 Greenships